Graham, Rams pick up 21st win in 78-72 defeat of UMass

The Basics

  • Score: #25 VCU 78, UMass 72
  • Records: VCU (21-6, 11-3), UMass (16-11, 9-5)
  • Location: Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel inside the HDL, Inc. Athletic Village
  • The Short Story: On a day where his predecessor saw his jersey hung from the rafters of the Siegel Center, senior Treveon Graham led the VCU men's basketball team to its 21st win of the year in a 78-72 win over UMass. Graham led all scorers with 24 points, while also grabbing 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year and 19th of his career. Sophomore Mo Alie-Cox added a career-high 12 points and three blocks on the afternoon.
  • Video: Highlights
How It Happened
  • Defense was the name of the game early as the Rams held UMass scoreless for the first 5:47 of the game en route to an 8-0 lead after freshman Justin Tillman slammed a dunk home.
  • VCU's lead would extend to as many as 16 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Graham and a fastbreak layup by sophomore Doug Brooks gave the Rams a 27-11 cushion with 6:52 to play in the half.
  • UMass wouldn't go away though, chipping away at the lead and a jumper Jabarie Hinds as time expired sent the teams into the break with VCU leading 35-30.
  • VCU came out of the break firing from outside and a 3-pointer from JeQuan Lewis pushed the Rams' lead to 47-36 with 16:15 to play.
  • Once again, UMass would have an answer, putting together a 12-0 run and taking its only lead of the game, 48-47, with 12:24 remaining.
  • Enter Jordan Burgess, who knocked down a three from the corner and came up with a block on the other end to swing momentum back to the Rams and help VCU grab a 52-48 lead with 10:44 to play.
  • The Rams would extend the lead back to 11, but UMass would continue chipping away and eventually get the lead to three, 70-67, with less than a minute to play.
  • VCU would step up to the line and knock down eight straight free-throws to end the game and seal the 78-72 victory.
Beyond the Boxscore
  • VCU is now one of just four programs in the country to post 21 or more wins in each of the past nine seasons (Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas are the others currently, six others could join that group by the end of the year)
  • In Atlantic 10 play, Alie-Cox is averaging 7.4 points and 2.6 blockers per game, while shooting 60.9-percent from the field.
  • Graham's 24 points moves him into sole possession of third on VCU's all-time scoring list at 1,739 points.
  • Graham currently sits third in points (1,739), third in free-throws made (409), sixth in 3-pointers (184), ninth in rebounds (726) and eighth in double-doubles (19)
Up Next
  • The Rams are back in action on Wednesday in the second edition of the Bank of America Capital City Classic. Game time at the Robins Center is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN2.